Donovan led the way, but Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones also got on the score sheet in a great performance for the USA.The United States put together a comprehensive performance in a 5-1 friendly win against Scotland at EverBank Field in Jacksonville.
Landon Donovan led the way with a hat trick after he questioned his own desire to continue playing soccer at a high level earlier in the week. The LA Galaxy captain hadn't played for the national team since September 2011. "It was nice to be back," he said.
The U.S. got off to the perfect start just three minutes in. Jose Torres forced a Scotland turnover which led to Donovan collecting the ball inside the box with a neat touch. His initial shot was saved, but the rebound bounced back to him and he made no mistake, slamming the ball into the roof of the net.
Just 10 minutes later, the U.S. doubled its lead in spectacular fashion. Donovan centered for Jermaine Jones, who laid off to the onrushing Bradley. The Chievo midfielder hit a first-time stunner on the half-volley that flew into the net.
"I'm very pleased with how things went tonight," Jurgen Klinsmann said. "It was a wonderful start with the two early goals. I think we set the tone."
The Scots struck back immediately, as Kenny Miller got free at the back post and headed into Geoff Cameron's chest. The U.S. defender was helpless to stop the ball from trickling past his own goalkeeper.
Jose Torres almost put the U.S. up two goals again when his cleverly-taken quick free kick surprised everybody, but it clanged off the post. And Donovan so nearly grabbed his second five minutes into the second half, but his slow roller from the top of the box glanced off the far post after a great combination in the build up with Torres.
Ten minutes later, though, Donovan did get his brace. After a one-two with Bradley, Jones cut a low pass across the area to the Galaxy midfielder, who finished low and to the far post.
And it didn't take long for Donovan to bag his hat trick. Bradley was involved again, slipping Donovan through the Scottish defense, with the game's star man finishing with the outside of his right boot off the inside of the post.
"We're glad we could put on a good performance," Donovan said. "It's just one game and we understand that, but an important step forward towards the ultimate goal, which is qualifying for Brazil 2014."
The route was on after Jones grabbed a goal on a fantastic night for him. Donovan charged on a counterattack and smartly chipped into the box for the Schalke man to head home.
With the 5-1 score taking the game beyond any doubt, the two teams played out the final 20 minutes in relatively uneventful fashion.
"The team kept the rhythm throughout the entire game. We kept the tempo going, the energy was high. We scored some wonderful goals," Klinsmann said. "That's obviously, for our coaches, fun to watch, no doubt about it."
The USA now heads to Washington D.C., where it will take on Brazil on Wednesday evening.
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